Performance monitoring—the ability to monitor ongoing performance to detect and correct errors—is a core component of cognitive control. Impairments in performance monitoring have been associated with several psychiatric disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and substance use disorder. Recent research indicates that the practice of meditation, as a mental training technique, may improve cognitive control. However, if and to what extent regular long-term meditation practice may enhance performance monitoring is currently unknown. The present study examined effects of meditation practice on behavioral and electrophysiological indices of performance monitoring. A group of meditators and an experience-matched active control group (non-meditator athletes) performed an Eriksen-Flanker task while their brain activity was recorded using electroencephalography (EEG). Behaviorally, meditators made significantly fewer errors than controls on incongruent trials. EEG analyses revealed a general increase in the amplitude of two brain potentials associated with performance monitoring—the error negativity (Ne) or error-related negativity (ERN) and correct-related negativity (CRN)—in meditators compared to controls. These findings, which are indicative of enhanced performance monitoring in meditators, corroborate the idea that meditation could be a recommendable practice to train and improve cognitive control, specifically performance monitoring.

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Department of Psychology

Andreu, C.I. (Catherine I.), Moënne-Loccoz, C. (Cristóbal), López, V. (Vladimir), Slagter, H.A. (Heleen A.), Franken, I., & Cosmelli, D. (Diego). (2017). Behavioral and Electrophysiological Evidence of Enhanced Performance Monitoring in Meditators. Mindfulness, 8(6), 1603–1614. doi:10.1007/s12671-017-0732-z